Saturday, July 13, 2013

Montessori and The Lemonade Stand

The kids worked their butts off today! Not for the love of money, but for the pure joy of working hard and owning a business. They think business, they talk business, and today they proclaimed a victory of being business owners again, this time a Stand of sorts. They asked me for advice and I gave it to them, nothing more. Just advice! A lot of talk about selling lemonade was inspired by the book DJ and I have been reading "The Lemonade War". The girls listened in on our readings and then they brainstormed ways to promote lemonade sales, and before I knew it their Stand was being organized and ready for business.                                                                 
They each thought about what they were good at and went for it. DJ loves lemonade and begin to test out how to develop the best lemonade and he went bananas over the straws when he saw them.
From past experience of running a lemonade stand Ken was sure about what she didn't want to sell. Ken doesn't like to go back and forth for things so she knew she didn't want to make snow cones like last year, selling popcorn was considered by there wouldn't be an electrical outlet outside. Ken has been doing a lot of baking following in her big sister's footsteps lately. She finally decided on cookies and baked until she found her favorite recipe. Her cookies are deliciously soft and I love them. See there are some perks for moms who have kids who set up lemonade/baking stands.
Seriously y'all you have never eaten a cupcake until you eaten one that Michelle has made. I was so happy when all three dozen cupcakes were sold. I don't know what I would of did if they made it back home, she did have three repeat customers today and a special request to be back next Saturday.


They also fund raised for families in Haiti pulling in $40.00. All the jewelry and wallets were handmade by a dad or mom who live in Haiti. Each item comes with a picture and name of the artist and their story. Their stories have helped us to become more compassionate and grateful. It made my day when I heard Ken explaining the fundraiser to a customer, she is very passionate about this fundraiser. To learn about this fundraising opportunity go here. There are a number of ways to participate in this program, but the kids refused to make any profit from these goods, in fact they are discussing how much they will donate from the things that they sold at the Stand.


 Altogether they earned $63.00 selling the lemonade, cookies, and cupcakes. Which makes a grand total of $103.00 when you include their sales from the fundraiser.

Here is what they learned ....
  1. Exactly what Profit is? DJ got us into a lesson on this by asking me if they would have to pay me back for the materials used for the Stand. I answered yes so I would be asked the next question. How much was the materials? "Thanks for asking" I replied and handed them the receipt from the store. From there they calculated cost and determined how much they will sell their product for. This was actually a funny lesson that lasted a couple of days. We actually have talked about profit before, but it was mommy led so it didn't stick to the brain like I had hoped it would. You know at one point DJ was going to sell one cup of lemonade for the cost of making a pitcher, which led us to talk about....
  2. Supply and Demand- O.K this was quite tricky! DJ had a point about the cup of lemonade being $2.00 especially when he added in the cost of the straws, which added about 2 cents more to the drink. He looked up the weather report for the day of the sales and found out it was going to be 88 degrees outside. Yes! There will be a demand for a cold glass of lemonade and we knew for certain that we were the only ones on the block that would be supplying lemonade because we were in a business location.
  3. Integrity- They knew that they had to be trusted individuals to sell food. They knew it was important for health reasons to wash their hands, keep the work area clean, not eat and bake at the same time, maintain a great appearance, and display the items attractively to promote the idea to people that this food and drink is safe to eat. Every time they were baking or making lemonade they would remind each other of the golden rule and if I found out that they didn't follow healthy safety practices whatever food or drink they were making would not be for sale. A great control of error, because if they didn't follow the rules their chances of making a profit would go down.
  4. Taxes- Thanks to Ken they learned about taxes, how much, when do sales tax apply, and how to figure out how much something is that has a tax on it. Ken heard me talk about taxes often. There has been times when I sent her in the store with a dollar for a tea and she would bring me back 1 cent, or her and Michelle have brought toilet paper . It never dawned on me before that she hadn't been shown the concept of non sale tax versus sale tax items. I was able to tie these past experiences into applied learning when she ask how much tax is on a cookie. "Hmmm... There isn't a tax for cookies Ken because there isn't any taxes on food." We had a quick mini lesson and DJ and Ken were excited to realize that when we are talking about taxes on food, gum is included as well. The charge for tax they researched and found out that it is different from state to state and different places that you shop on the Internet may charge you tax, and only do if there is a store in your area like the one you are purchasing from. I was amazed at how quickly they were learning how to do the operation for figuring out the taxes, then I remembered the percentages work they both did with the golden beads, and working with the decimal board.
  5. Public Speaking- They had to get out there and get some customers. They soon realized that sitting at their Stand looking cute and all wasn't going to get them as many customers as they would like. Next thing I knew they were standing in front of the building spreading their excitement and sharing news about their Stand. They were comfortably engaging with their customers,informing them of their products quite nicely. Most of the time I was looking out of the window, but I can see that their passion for their Stand was overflowing to their customers, everyone was smiling and was happy on both ends.

What I loved most about them having this Stand was them learning how to be observant, or should I say how I learned more about being observant of them. They paid attention to the timer while cooking, they smelled when it was time to remove their baked goods from the oven even when the timer was set at a different time. You can't find this in any material, or curriculum but you definitely can get these results when living by the Montessori philosophy. I have learned to talk less. Stop making suggestions and use my instinct and my " following the child" determination more. There is no big secret to how this year's Stand was more successful than last year's Stand. They are more confident, and I am a little more trained in the being observant department. I share this in hopes to encourage those who think they are struggling with incorporating Montessori At Home. The pay offs are huge, and although it appears to be on the expensive side, I will offer my unsolicited advise "Follow the child" and not what you want the child to have. I know it is hard! I have spent quite a bit of money on materials and learned the hard way. In fact I did a little research and if I wanted to just print, cut and laminate the concepts that they learned it would of cost me about $60.00. The materials were only $20.00 that I can divide between three kids. If I did that I don't think that DJ would of wanted to learn two days worth of real concepts of Supply and Demand, and Ken would of avoided the tax work completely. Michelle may have thought it was baby work, even though there were quite a few concepts that she needed to go deeper in, which we did.

By the way I felt that they paid me back by how well they worked. I even got a cupcake brought to me just before they sold out. So this time they get a "no paying back mama" card and get to keep all of their money, and I got to save some money too by "following the child". Win,Win!

Montessori Monday


  1. What awesome work! As usual, I'm inspired by what all four of you are doing! I'm in no hurry for my two to grow up, but following along with the adventures in your household definitely makes me look forward to the future.

    It says so much about your caring and kind-hearted children - and their role model - that they were so dedicated in their fundraising for others, too!

  2. You guys rock!
    you are such a great mama, you just inspired me!!Your kids are so lucky to have all your support and hard work.

  3. Oh so cool!! The cupcakes look amazing :). Love the lesson.

  4. This is a wonderful post. I love all the learning details you have included. Did you see the post about our lemonade stand? Not at all the same, but a different kind of learning. : )

  5. You guys always amaze me with your awesome projects! Well done!

  6. Wow, fantastic! Thanks for sharing! Kuddos, kiddos!

  7. Oh this is wonderful! I'm going to be showing my kids when they get up in the morning :) #inspired

  8. This is so comprehensive! I love the part on integrity. It's probably one of the most important part of business and one that's also easy to forget.

    Last year, we didn't make much profit after the sales when you minus the materials and time spent making everything. But the experience was priceless! Now, you've given me motivation to do it again next year and include learning opportunities like taxes, integrity, customer service, etc.

    Love the signs and great job on running a successful lemonade stand!


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